Bahai News -- Baha'is celebrate garden of humanity
Baha'is celebrate garden of humanity
PORT CHARLOTTE -- A garden planted with only one kind of flower would be boring, and that's how Baha'is feel about the human race. About two
dozen of them gathered at Port Charlotte Beach on Sunday afternoon to participate in the seventh Race Unity Day celebration in Charlotte
"As Baha'is, we believe mankind is one; we are all one family," said Joan Hutchens, the event's master of ceremonies. "Like
flowers, we are all different but all in one garden, and diversity brings life and beauty to the garden."
Those light-hearted metaphors
did not stop speakers at the event from condemning "the social disease of racism," as Hutchens put it.
"Our teachings tell us that,
until we get rid of racism in America, we will not have peace in the world," she warned.
The two local groups of Baha'is in Charlotte
County honored Nina Burwell for her service to the cause. Between sets by musicians Steve Blackwell and Friends, they ate barbecue and chatted
with each other and passers-by, hoping to create an awareness of racism.
The Baha'i faith traces its doctrines of racial tolerance,
social justice and gender equality to its founder, Baha'u'llah, a Persian (now Iranian) prophet who announced his revelations in 1863. His
progressive attitudes didn't make him popular with Iran's Islamic clergy, and Baha'is have been the victims of persecution in their homeland
The religion has meanwhile spread around the world, partly because it preaches peace and doesn't invalidate other beliefs.
Hutchens said Baha'is see Baha'u'llah and his immediate predecessor, the Bab ("Gate"), as only the most recent in a series of God-sent
With civilization ever-changing, new spiritual laws are required for mankind to grow. While venerating the Bible as a true book
of God, the Baha'is also seek accord with modern science.
"If you have religion but don't believe in science, it's fanaticism," Hutches
said. "If you have science without religion, it's materialism. Baha'u'llah is the newest messenger who came to unite mankind. That's what
religion is supposed to do anyhow."
You can email Malcolm Brenner at firstname.lastname@example.org
By MALCOLM BRENNER
©Copyright 2002, Sun-Herald (FL, USA)
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